Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon asked the Biden administration to investigate a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member’s multimillion dollar purchase of Oregon land, according to a letter shared exclusively with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Chavez-DeRemer sent a letter to the Treasury Department on Wednesday expressing “deep concern” that the second-largest foreign owner of farmland in the U.S. is a “Chinese billionaire and Member of the Chinese Communist Party.” Chen Tianqiao, who is a CCP member, purchased nearly 200,000 acres of Oregon timberland for $85 million in 2015, Chavez-DeRemer’s letter states, citing a recent DCNF investigation.
“This appears to be yet another instance of an overlooked foreign adversarial purchase of American agricultural land,” Chavez-DeRemer’s letter states. “This is a systemic issue that transcends Republican and Democratic Administrations.”
Following the DCNF’s Jan. 11, 2024 report concerning Chen’s CCP-ties, Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester sent a letter to the Treasury Department and Department of Agriculture on Jan. 12, alleging that Chen had “failed to report the transaction to relevant entities like the Department of Agriculture (USDA) as required by the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA).”
A spokesperson for Chen’s investment firm, Shanda Group, subsequently shared a 2015 document with the DCNF that was sent from the Department of Treasury to Whitefish Cascades Forest Resource, LLC, which the billionaire used as his investment vehicle to purchase the Oregon land, according to Land Report.
The 2015 document states that the Treasury Department found “no unresolved national security concerns” with Chen’s land purchase.
“It is my understanding that in 2015, CFIUS conducted a review of this transaction and determined that there were no unresolved national security concerns,” Chavez-DeRemer’s letter states. “As you know, CFIUS is an interagency committee authorized to review certain transactions involving foreign investment in the United States and certain real estate transactions by foreign persons, in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.”
Given Chen’s CCP membership, the Congresswoman’s letter poses several questions concerning the government’s review of Chen’s purchase as well as whether or not a “new formal review process” would be opened.
Chavez-DeRemer’s letter also calls for CFIUS “and other federal safeguards and provisions” to be reformed.
“We must continue the conversation toward reforms to CFIUS, the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, which has not been comprehensively reformed since 1978, and other federal safeguards and provisions that will help advance the agricultural sector as a whole into our national security perspective and apparatus,” her letter states.
On Jan. 14, 2024, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, who chairs the House Select Committee on the CCP, told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that he has a “bipartisan bill” that will address the danger of CCP land purchases in the U.S.
“America can never afford to allow our foreign competitors to subvert our sovereignty through purchasing our finite farmable acres, to increase our dependence on foreign agricultural sources, or to deplete our rural communities,” Chavez-DeRemer’s letter concludes.
The Treasury Department did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Philip Lenczycki on January 18, 2024